When do I need a commercial kitchen?
If you live in California and decide to extend your culinary talents beyond meals for family and friends by selling your food to the general public, schools or nursing homes etc, you will first need to meet the state's requirements by preparing and cooking your food in a Health Department and city/county approved 'commercial kitchen'.
Cooking from home
Some food preparation and sales may fit into the 'Cottage Food Operations' requirements. These requirements extend to include:
- 'cottage food' handling training
- types of food (normally non perishable types - jams, nuts etc)
- surfaces and equipment
- inspection of your kitchen by Health Department
- food sources and storage
- animal and vermin controls
- gross annual sales
Essentially, you cannot (under these requirements) produce potentially hazardous foods from your home and are restricted in delivery and gross annual income. If you don't fit into these requirements, you need to operate from a commercial kitchen with the appropriate Health Department and city permits.
Full California Department of Health Cottage Food guidelines can be viewed here
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